By J. Chapman

ISBN-10: 0230392873

ISBN-13: 9780230392878

ISBN-10: 1349352098

ISBN-13: 9781349352098

ISBN-10: 3799707018

ISBN-13: 9783799707015

A brand new background of British Documentary is the 1st complete review of documentary creation in Britain from early movie to the current day. It covers either the movie and tv industries and demonstrates how documentary perform has tailored to altering institutional and ideological contexts.

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At a time when the formal distinction between documentary and newsreel had yet to be institutionalized, the Mitchell and Kenyon films can be seen to anticipate both modes. On the one hand the films of topical events are akin to the sort of items that would become a prominent feature of newsreels. Hence there are films of visiting dignatories (Lord Roberts’ Visit to Manchester, 1901), royals (Visit of HRH Princess Louise to Blackburn, 1905) and military parades (The Return of the Lancaster Volunteers, 1901) as well as many dozens of football and rugby matches.

The methodology is empirical rather than theoretical: it is concerned with the nitty-gritty details of the production and consumption of documentary film and television rather than with the abstract philosophical notions of ‘truth’ that have preoccupied much documentary theorizing. The writing of most British documentary practitioners, it should be noted, has generally been more concerned with the practical issues affecting documentary: like any mode of film or television practice, the contexts of documentary need to be understood before any critique can be mounted of its perceived ideological or formal limitations.

The reviewer ‘Bryher’ (a pseudonym Documentary Before Grierson 37 for the pacifist journalist Winifred Ellerman) thought that Mons revealed ‘the kind of sentimentality that makes one shudder . . 70 Yet it was also the last. It is not immediately apparent why the cycle came to an end at this point, though the imminent arrival of talking pictures and the costs associated with converting to sound was probably a factor. Another company, New Era, released two films in a similar style to the BIF films, The Somme (1927) and ‘Q’ Ships (1928).

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A New History of British Documentary by J. Chapman

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